Businesses owed millions after overpaying on energy bills

29th March 2017

One in every five business energy bills contains errors according to a research report by Inenco. The report also believes that businesses could be sitting on half a billion pounds in inaccurate charges and miscalculated utility bills.

Energy bills mistakes include incorrect rates, human error, complex data flows and meter reading errors. Collectively, these inaccuracies could be costing businesses half a billion pounds. Inenco research analysed thousands of business energy bills to find the most common mistakes and the costliest errors that return the biggest refunds for businesses. At a time when energy costs are rising by 25% and businesses are facing pressures from every direction, picking the low hanging fruit of recovering historic inaccuracies and preventing future overpayment could make a big impact on the bottom line. The report blames a range of different players in the energy supply chain, from suppliers to meter operators and distribution network operators.

Inenco’s Chief Commercial Officer David Cockshott said: “The size and scale of this issue means this is not just small change being discussed. Paying too much for energy bills because of simple data issues or human error is easily resolved and can result in significant savings for businesses, from direct refunds to preventing future unnecessary pay-outs.”

Businesses in the retail and leisure sectors are the most likely to have been affected by billing errors. This is due to their “complex portfolios of sites with multiple meters and frequently changing tenants”. These complexities can easily lead to errors because a business with a large number of sites in its portfolio will have hundreds of half-hourly meter reads automatically submitted each day. This creates huge volumes of data and, consequently, “large margins for error”.

The public sector has also been hit hard by charging mistakes, with Inenco calculating that around £112m could be recovered. The consultancy warned that the public sector could be overpaying for its energy use by the equivalent of a third of the NHS’ annual electricity bill.

Some of the highest value individual errors it uncovered include:

  • A major supermarket being overcharged £700,000 in duplicate charges
  • A food manufacturer paying over £300,000 in inaccurate network charges
  • A £775,000 refund for a property management agent from paying incorrect rates for a year

The full report titled “Missing millions” can be viewed by clicking here.